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In contested N.H. county attorney races, incumbents keep their seats

John Phelan
via Wikimedia Commons

Incumbents held onto their seats in New Hampshire’s three contested county attorney races this year, according toresults from the Secretary of State’s Office.

That includes longtime Sullivan County Attorney Marc Hathaway, who fended off his first challenge in more than 30 years. Hathaway won against local public defender Jay Buckey, in a race thatdrew attention to the county’s lack of a drug court.

In Rockingham County, incumbent Pat Conway defeated local defense attorney Rich Clark, who said he wanted to reform an office he claimed wrongfully indicted him in 2019. (The charges were later dropped. Conwaydefended her office’s handling of the case in an interview with the Portsmouth Herald.)

Hillsborough County Attorney John Coughlin, meanwhile, prevailed againstNicholas Sarwark, a defense attorney and former national chair of the Libertarian Party who had criticized Coughlin’s management of the office.

The Berlin Sunreports that the challenger in a fourth race, in Coos County, was struck from the ballot because he is not an attorney. Incumbent John McCormick won without opposition.

County attorneys in the rest of the state did not face challengers.

County attorneys oversee most felony prosecutions and are key players in the criminal justice system. Butmost run for re-election without any opposition, both in New Hampshire and nationally.

Paul Cuno-Booth covers health and equity for NHPR. He previously worked as a reporter and editor for The Keene Sentinel, where he wrote about police accountability, local government and a range of other topics. He can be reached at

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